Skip to main content

Dinosaur National Monument - Utah

Our journey started in Rifle, Colorado to visit the falls and try out the Lee filters.  I brought all my gear...and had to use two backpacks.  I packed the Fuji in the big Lowepro bag I used in Egypt.  Boy that trip was almost 10 years ago!  I used a smaller bag for the Olympus and set it up as my 'night bag' for star photography.

Camera: FujiFilm XT3

We stayed in Vernal, Utah in a Marriott extended stay.  We wanted to have a kitchenette to prepare our breakfasts and make lunches for the cooler.  Worked out well.  Many of the restaurants were open for take out and we got Mexican food to go.  We went to the local Smith's grocery store to pick up supplies.  Absolutely no-one in the store with the exception of the workers and ourselves were wearing masks.  In Colorado everyone wears masks, it is kind of mandatory.

The plan was to hit Stienaker State Park for some star photography. It is on the Dark Skies register and is situated in such a way that the lights from Vernal are minimal.  This was not the right spot for us so we went down US Route 40 and tried to get closer to a cool looking peak.  No luck, we were driving though ranch land and these hills were in the way.   The hills are obviously used for off roading.  There were several people driving side by sides in town and on US40.  We took the truck on the trails. This could be a good place for night photography.  Clouds were rolling in so we stayed for the sunset and abandoned the idea of staying late for the stars.

Camera: Olympus OM D EM1 Mark III

Dinosaur National Monument straddles Colorado and Utah and consists of 200,000 acres on the edge of the Unita basin.  Dinosaurs roamed here.  The Quarry Visitor Center contains over 1500 fossils.  The Fremont people lived here after the dinosaurs and left their mark in the form of petroglyphs dating back some 1000 years ago.

We are still experiencing the pandemic and there were few visitors to the park.  The Quarry Visitor Center was closed.  Traveling after Memorial Day weekend we hoped would yield fewer people; we only saw two other hikers.  We spent the entire day exploring the canyons and petroglyphs.

Shade spot on our hike.  

Back in the truck driving the scenic route though the park and stopping for petroglyphs. It was getting close to 90 degrees already.

This is the peak we were trying to get to the night before.  It is inside the park.

After our hike on the 'Sound of Silence Trail' we went all the way back to Colorado to the Canyon Visitor Center to take the Echo Park off-road trail.  We stopped at the Visitor Center, it was closed, but had a nice shady picnic table.  Time for lunch! The restrooms were open and there was a water spigot that we used to fill up the Stanley.  Great little stop, sometimes it is just the little things that make me happy.

The road to the Echo Park turn off was longer that I expected - beautiful country though and we stopped a few times.  No Dinosaur fossils were found on the Colorado side.

We turned off on the dirt road, a sign was posted not recommending passenger cars...ok, the road was not bad at all.  The road went for miles and ended up at the bottom of the steep walled canyon.  At the end of the road was convergence the Yampa and Green rivers and a giant monolith named Steamboat Rock. The weather was starting to turn as clouds rolled in.  We were hoping for blue skies at Steamboat Rock.  No star photography tonight.  It was a good thing too, we were exhausted and crashed out before it even got dark.

On the way back to Denver we received an alert on our phones that there would be a curfew in effect starting at 8:00 PM.  What is going on?  We have definitely been unplugged for three days which was awesome.  No news of COVID 19 and no anxiety.  Well, Mr. George Floyd died from being pinned down by a cop in Minneapolis and the whole country has been protesting.  This included vandalism to the city of Denver and other major cities so curfews have been put into effect.  The country has been protesting since Thursday and we were none the wiser.  Mr. Floyd deserves justice!


Popular posts from this blog

Darwin Research Station - Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

At the Charles Darwin Research Station, you see the Giant Turtles and the Galapagos land Iguana.   Introduced aminamls to many of the islands threaten the existence of the indigenous species. Wild dogs that were brought to the island almost killed a colony of over 500 land iguanas in 1970’s. Cats, mice and goats were induced as well, the goats and dogs have been irraticated but getting all the mice and cats poses real challenges. The Research Station was able to rescue 60 iguanas and in an effort to re-build their population, they began a breeding program for iguanas in Santa Cruz. This breeding program is still active today.

Darwin Finches  We saw the Common Cactus, Small Ground, Green Warbler, Wood Pecker, and the Gray Warbler.

Darwin identified 13 species of Finches among the Galápagos Islands that were primarily differentiated by beak size. In contrast, only one species of this bird existed on the mainland South America to the east. Darwin correctly concluded that the different bea…

Baalbek Lebanon - Virtually Via Google Earth

At lunch today I went to Baalbek, Lebanon by way of Google Earth.  Super cool to explore - there are quite a few virtual tours of the ruins.  Not being able to travel is bringing me down.  We have a trip scheduled to Israel and Jordan in September.  I am not holding my breath that we will be able to go with all of the travel restrictions due to the pandemic.  So, to get my travel and exploration fix, I went virtual.

The place was pretty empty of people, shelter in place I guess...haaa.  I was armed with my SnagIt camera and took pictures of what I would take.  Pretty fun!
Baalbek is an ancient Phoenician city located in what is now modern-day Lebanon, north of Beirut, in the Beqaa Valley. Inhabited as early as 9000 BCE, Baalbek grew into an important pilgrimage site in the ancient world for the worship of the sky-god Baal and his consort Astarte, the Queen of Heaven in Phoenician religion (the name 'Baalbek' means Lord Baal of the Beqaa Valley). The center of the city was a g…

Climbing a Mountain - Guanella Pass

Getting high in Colorado! Off-roading on Argentine Pass, just out side of Georgetown on Guanella Pass road.  It is a little rocky to start and then smoothed out, well as smooth as an off road trail can be.  Some of the trails were impassable due to snow but that didn't stop us from going as far as we could.  There was quite a few people on the trail, in which most of it was one way.  We had to back up a few times to let others pass.   We spent around five hours out there exploring the offshoot trails and ended up climbing 11,500 feet of the best view EVER!!

Camera: Fuji XT3